Northeast India is a terra firma of heaving hills where the plains are equally enchanting as the peaks. Delimited by copious emerald cover, Northeast India is known for the contiguous Seven Sister States. And the count of these seven sisters remains partial devoid of Arunachal Pradesh. This post is going to take you through a beautiful valley in Arunachal Pradesh, which is famed as The Ziro Valley or Apatani Valley in Northeast India.
Ziro Valley is an old town in the lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh, which is positioned around 1500 meters above the sea level. The valley is well-blessed with natural beauty including bountiful paddy fields, green mound and long pine trees. Furthermore, you also come across an animated river called Subansiri, and some stunning trekking sites like Dafla and Miri equally pulls many visitors here round the year.
Thus, you can say that Ziro Valley is quite rich in terms of organic miscellany. Situated in arms of mother earth, the tranquil Ziro Valley is well outlying from city’s hustle-bustle.
Ziro People and Culture:
The inhabitants in the Ziro Valley are of Apatani tribes who admire the nature. The Apatanis follow a simple lifestyle residing in bamboo-made huts, and they are quite generous by nature. In the early morning, most of adults are involved into farming activities, while the children leave for school. Paddy cultivation, coffee and fish farming are the key occupations here. In the evening, Apatanis love to spend time with family members. They greet the visitors by offering their customary beer made of rice and a special salt ‘Tapyo’. Since rice is their staple food, hence the Apatanis enjoy eating rice with boiled vegetables. They do not use much spices in their foods, and most of the dishes here are cooked in bamboo shoots. The women villagers can be observed with tattooing their faces and with traditional nose plugs. The Apatan tribes speak Tanii language. Though, English and Hindi are also spoken in some parts of the town.
If you happen to be in the Ziro Valley in the month of September, don’t miss the four-day Ziro Music festival here. Plenty of music lovers travel here from various parts of India to be a part of this electrifying musical event. Ziro Music festival allows you an opportunity to explore something more about the diverse North East. Yummy food and exciting outdoor activities take this vibrant event to another level of delight.
Ziro is a pleasant place that one can visit throughout the year. Because of its moderate climate, visitors flock this beautiful valley from various parts of India. What amazes visitors here during summer is its soothing atmosphere. The summer hits Ziro in the month of April and it lasts till June. The temperature during summer is somewhere between 6.3°C to 28.1°C. In the month of July, you can experience a heavy rainfall here due to monsoon, which lasts till September. The month of October is quite soothing here as the climate favours the tourists to a great extent. Later, in the month of November, you can feel intense of cold, which lasts here till the end of February. During winter, minimum temperature lies around 1.0°C and maximum temperature climbs up to 18.4°C.
Thus, considering the seasonal variations here, the best time to visit Ziro is between February and October.
Sites to Explore at Ziro:
Considering the ecological extensiveness, a proposal has already been made to UNESCO so that Apatani Valley can be declared as a World Heritage Site. The place has galore of breath-taking attractions to unveil. This is the reason tourist travel to the state of Arunachal Pradesh from all over the sphere for exploring its natural beauty.
Let’s take a look on the attractions in Ziro that one must unveil during his/her visit here:
Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
Exploring Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary around Ziro is quite a breathtaking experience that once can have. With an expanse of more than 330 sq. Km areas, this captivating Wildlife Sanctuary houses abundant flora and fauna including orchids, ferns, bamboo, rhododendron, silver fir trees and many other endangered species. Being considered as a Bio-diversity zone, in Talley Valley Wildlife Sanctuary you won’t see much human intrusion. Therefore, while stepping into the bush of this wildlife sanctuary, you will feel an optimum degree of tranquillity here.
Tips: On your way to Talley Valley, you can also visit Dilopolyang Maniipolyang, which is a twin knoll. Travellers stop by this site to have an attention-grabbing view of lush meadows.
Meghna Cave Temple
If you want to be an onlooker of 5000 years old temple positioned at 3000 ft. height above sea level, Meghna Cave Temple is the site. Located adjacent to Ziro, this temple was structured dedicating to Lord Shiva. Ages back in 1962 this temple was rediscovered and gradually the temple has grabbed the attention of several visitors across India. The carving and structural design of this temple are the key attractions to visitors. A mere 10 minutes climb up the stairs will take you through a picturesque vista of the surrounding areas and animated river that flows below the mountains. Carrying a camera is something that you can’t forget while heading towards the peak.
Situated around 7Kms away from old Ziro, Kile Pakho is an amazing tourist puller. Blessed with galore of natural exquisiteness, this place is a must visit for all the nature lovers. The luring part of this site can best be revealed when you come to view a spectacular blend of frosty range of the Himalayas called Nyime Pembu from one side and the Ziro plateau on the other side. Couples find Kile Pakho as an amazing site to visit. On the hill top, you can spend some beautiful moments with your better half.
Midey is one of the famous tourist sites that you can’t miss during your trip to Ziro Valley. Distinctively renowned for its lofty blue pine trees in the entire vicinity of Apatani, Midey has something audacious offerings as well. If you are enthusiastic about experiencing something daring, Midey has the answer for you. This place caters you an excellent trekking and hiking opportunities to emerge out your adventurous persona. If you are already here with your trekking kits, what are you waiting for?
Ziro Puto or Army Puto
This is a small mound where India’s first administrative centre was established after independence. Later in 1960, an army cantonment was also established at this location. Consequently, Ziro Puto gained its popularity amongst the visitors as Army Puto. Scaling the peak of this site will offer you an aerial view of the entire Apatani plateau.
Situated near the Daporijo Road, and on the western direction of the Ziro Valley, Dolo Mando is a popular trekking site. Scaling the hilltop of Dolo Mando gives you an amazing view of the entire Hapoli town. Travellers flock this site for practicing trekking activities. If you love adventure, trekking at Dolo Mando is highly recommended for you.
As the name suggests, this place is popular for pine trees. On your way to Daporijo within 3Kms reach from old Ziro, you come across the topology of Pine Grove. This site came into existence in 1961. Over the phase, Pine Grove has turned to an exciting picnic spot. Once you enter the territory of Pine Grove, you will feel like to spend long hours here in the arms of beautiful greeneries, fresh plants and paddy fields. Visitors flock this site to view the tall scented pine trees.
Tips: Before you start crossing the steep hillock, have some light eatables and cup of tea beside the road. This is because, on your way to Pine Grove, you won’t find any place to take rest and eat. If possible try to carry food and drinking water with you.
Tarin Fish Farm
One of the most astounding parts you come to experience when you visit the Tarin Fish Farm near Hapoli. In this farm, fishes are bred at a high elevation by the Apatanis. The farm is delimited by long pine and bamboo trees. Visitors come across this location to witness the unique process of paddy-cum-fish cultivation, which is practiced in wide 200kms areas. During this farming process, one crop of fish, Ngihi and two crops of rice are raised collectively.
What makes Bamboo Groove a worth exploring site is its one stem bamboo ‘monopodial’, which is grown here with tall blue pine. In addition, visitors also gather here for practicing trekking and hiking activities.
Tipi Orchid Research Centre
Situated in the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, Tipi Orchid Research Centre is known for its 1000 varieties of orchids. Covered with 10 hectares areas, this Research Centre is a botanical hub for many students and research analysts. Some of the key attractions of Tipi Orchid Research Centre include Orchid Glass House, Orchid Herbarium Tipi (OHT), Tissue Culture Laboratory and Species Houses.
Apart from nature lovers and adventure freaks, Apatani plateau has something for devotees as well. Here you come to see a Shivling (25 ft. length and 22 ft. width), which was explored by the local inhabitants. According to the Apatanis, this is the world’s largest Shivling.
During your Ziro voyage, you will come across various Tibetan cuisines. Considering the mounting visitors all year, numbers of eateries and hotels are established at the local street areas. The foods that you shouldn’t miss in Ziro are Momo and Thukpa (vegetable soup with a blend of noodles and crushed meat). Additionally, you must try the Zan as well, which is served at many restaurants here at Ziro. Zan is made of vegetables, cheese and meat.
If you want to try something sugary, pancake or Khura is quite famous at Ziro. One more scrumptious food at Ziro is Gyapa Khazi, which is a kind of rice pulao served with cheese and dry fish. The Apatanis are also fond of tea, so trying a sip of refreshing tea on the go is not a bad idea.
Apatanis are known for their traditional handlooms and handicrafts. You will get various colourful local made lifestyle products like rugs, jackets and scarves to purchase. In addition, bamboo basket is also an important part of their artisanship. If you step into the District Industries Centre at Hapoli, you can also try some luring items made of cane. The tribe women also sell the traditional nose plugs in small stores near the township.
How to reach Ziro:
The small town in the lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh is not that exigent to come by. Located around 167Kms away from the capital city Itanagar, Ziro can be reached by hiring any private vehicles from the adjoining places like Guwahati, North Lakhimpur, Tezpur and Jorhat.
In addition, the following are various other modes of transports that you can travel by:
By Air: For air travellers two nearby airports are Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati and Raraiyah Airport, Jorhat. From airport premises, you can hire a taxi, cab and sumo, or take a bus to reach Ziro. From Guwahati, the distance to reach Ziro is around 260Kms that can be travelled in maximum 4-5 hours time. On the other hand, from Itanagar the distance is around 111Kms, which can be covered in 3.30 hours.
Another viable option for air traveller is Lilabari Airport. This airport is located in North Lakhimpur, which located around 100Kms away from Ziro. The best part of Lilabari Airport is that you can avail helicopter services here to reach Ziro.
By Rail: There is no direct railway connectivity to reach Ziro. You may book your train ticket till Guwahati and then you need to hire a cab or take a bus from Guwahati to reach Ziro. However, the nearest railway station is North Lakhimpur, which is merely 100Kms away from Ziro. In order to reach North Lakhimpur, you need to board at Arunachal Express from New Bongaigaon. From North Lakhimpur railway station you will get many private cars that will take you to your destination.
Few more nearest railway stations are listed below for your convenience:
- (TBH)TATIBAHAR (around 47.8Kms)
- (DMC)DHEMAJI (around 70.12Kms)
- (MXN)MARIANI JN (around 110.41Kms)
- (DMV)DIMAPUR (Around 182.62Kms)
- (DPU)DIPHU (around 193.85Kms)
By Road: There are various government buses that run from Itanagar for Ziro. The bus fare is quite reasonable that will charge you between INR100-200. However, the frequency of government bus service is not much often. Therefore, it is advisable to hire private cars from there. The entry and exit point of Ziro is Kimin and Likabali respectively. Because of steep and uneven road conditions, it is recommended to hire any powerful vehicles like Gypsy or Innova. Additionally, there are many private buses as well that run from Guwahati, Itanagar and North Lakhimpur.
Travelling within Ziro: In order to explore the adjoining attractions in Ziro, you can hire a sumo or taxi from any nearby tourist spot. Visitors also prefer roving around the village by rickshaw.
Places to Stay:
The Ziro Valley has galore of natural exquisiteness, which are often visited by many tourists across the year. However, the place has very limited staying options to offer. Therefore, you should go for few small hotels or Circuit House during your stay at Ziro. Some the small hotels at Ziro facilitate the visitors by catering some basic amenities like quality food, hot water, hygienic ambience and heart winning generosity. The charges are also quite nominal here.
However, many visitors prefer to stay in different home-stays during their trip to Ziro. Some of the home-stays are offered by the local families. There is a popular home-stay that you can try is Siro Homestays, which is run by Ngunu NGO. It will cater you a comfy staying in Ziro. The best part of staying at the home-stays is good interactive sessions with the local people. Such interactive sessions will let you unfold many interesting facts about the place, people and their culture. During winter they also arrange bonfire, vehicles, tribal dance etc. for a delightful stay.
Here are few staying options for you:
#Hotel Blue Pine
Near main town Hapoli
Contact: 03788- 224812
Contact: 03788- 225123
#Ziro Valley Resort
Near the spot of Ziro Music Festival
Contact: +91 9612914294
#Ngunu Ziro Homestays
Siiro and Tajang villages
Contact: 03788-225808 /+91 9436059165
#Siro Homestays (run by an NGO)
PO: Ziro Lower Subansiri District (AP)
Contact: 03788-225809 / +91 9436047891
Note: Rates may vary from time-to-time depending on the resort/home-stays/hotels/guest house. The contact numbers are provided as per some source. In any which case, if the given numbers cannot be reached on account of any unwanted circumstances (sudden alteration of number, network issue etc.), Exciting India will not be responsible for the same.
- While stepping into the dense bush in Ziro for trekking purpose, don’t forget to carry some adequate leech protecting items like salt and gum boots.
- If you visit Ziro Valley in the month of September, don’t miss the Ziro Festival of Music there.
- During your leisure time at home-stays, you can explore the firming areas where caterpillar, fish and butterfly firming takes place.
- The nearby bastis (villages) are good option to explore the rural life at Ziro.
- If you love rain and want to experience some natural waterfalls, visit Ziro during monsoon. Though, heavy rain falls in the monsoon often leads to road blockage.